The Qadisha valley, which also known as the Holy valley, is one of the earliest Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which an age of centuries, stand in subtle positions in the deep gorge. Nearby, the “Cedars of God” is one of the oldest cedar forests in Lebanon. The cedars here were once exported for many usages and now is a protected species. The sites are now co-listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Peruvian territory was once home to ancient cultures spanning from Caral, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest empire in Pre-Columbian America. Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. Today, rich and ancient traditions are still preserved by Quechua people, such as; gratitude to Pachamama through Holy Wood, traditional weaving with simple wooden tools, a carefully guarded bread recipe that uses eucalyptus wood in the process and, musical instruments connected to Andean cosmology.
Kilwa Kisiwani (which means "Kilwa of the Island") is located off the coast of Tanzania, East Africa. This thriving seaport was once being forgotten, but now is a protected site in the list of UNESCO world Heritage.
Kilwa Kisiwani was subjugated to different races, including Persian (Iranian nowadays), Portuguese and Arabian due to its superior geographic location for trading. It was once a famous seaport but lost its glory since the mid-19th century. There are still around 1000 residents living in this tranquil island at the present time.
People dwell in huts that are made of palm leaves and logs, which are collected from trees on the island. Villagers build and repair dhows for fishing. Fishing is the main economic activity, but after Kilwa Kisiwani being listed as the world heritage, the newly developed eco-tourism has brought in additional income for villagers.
Located 180 km west from city Arusha, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a reserve with 8292 km2 land and is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main feature of NCA is the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera formed around 3 million years ago when a giant volcano exploded. This natural enclosure is populated by a wide variety of wild animals, including herds of wildebeest, zebra, antelopes…etc.
Apart from wild life, Maasai tribe is another feature to observe in NCA. The Maasai is a semi-nomadic group of people whose lifestyle centers on their cattle. Moreover, around NCA, there is a lake named Eyasi where Hadzabe and Datoga people still live in a traditional life.
Being one of the UNESCO heritage sites, St Michael the Archangel Church in Dębno was a Gothic church built of larch wood in the 15th century. It’s still in use at present for the locals and tourists. On Sundays, the church is always packed with faithful disciples for the Sunday service and curious tourists waiting for going inside the church, opened only 10 minutes for tourists each weekend, to witness the well-preserved interior fittings and paintings. The maintenance is down to the priest who is not just the ‘tour guide’ of this historical church, but also works as a guardian of this small village and surrounding area.
Being one of the few living villages listed in UNESCO heritage, Vlkolínec was reluctant to turn itself into a proper museum. A group of volunteers found this remote mountainous village and were stunned by which they still remain the old way of living. As time goes by, however, people move out into the city gradually as there is not much to do in this remote area other than herding animals. Up until now, there are 55 houses standing in the village, but only 6 of them are inhabited by 19 people. Some of them are kept as it was and some are turned into cottages in display. People living there are actually feeling hassled most of the time with people walking around their houses. Occasionally some tourists would abruptly walk into people’s house without knowing they have intruded resident’s privacy. We were lucky that a half-drunken man invited us into his house and told us his stories and the history of this village with a big happy smile on his face.
Bergen is a city and municipality on the west coast of Norway. The economy of Bergen today is based on tourism, fishery, shipping, and offshore petroleum industry. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, has a series of North European wooden houses from medieval time aligned on the side of fjord. Back in Hanseatic period, Bryggen was a business district and now is preserved and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The museums in Bergen University with rich collections of the Vikings’ hut, appliances and wooden ships are also worth a visit!
On the campus of University of Bergen lies the Cultural History Collections of University Museum that exhibits wooden axes, huts, and shipbuilding tools used by the Vikings. Bergen Maritime Museum presents Norway’s history of shipping from the past to the present; its collections of shipwrecks and ship models include Viking ships, archeological ship remains, and artifacts.
Malacca, located in the southern region of Malay Peninsula, is the third smallest state in Malaysia. The capital Malacca City is 148 kilometers southeast from Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. And the city has also been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.
Malacca has been colonized by the Europeans for more than 400 years. Portuguese was the first invader after Sultanate in 1511. Malacca then became a strategic base for expansion and also for spices trading. After Portuguese, there were also Dutch, British, and Japanese colonization. It was not until 1946 that the Malays toppled the regime and Malacca finally became part of Malayan Union, which later became Federation of Malaya and then eventually Malaysia.
Malacca is therefore deeply influenced by the history of foreign occupation, which can be found not only in material remains, but also in cultural tradition, such as food, dance, and festivals. The Stadthuys, Museums of History and Ethnography, has abundant records of the past stories, especially the sailing history, which includes models of ancient wooden boats and archives.
Penang, located on the northwest coast of Peninsula Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca, is the second smallest Malaysian state and the eighth most populous.
Penang is composed of two parts – Penang Island, where the governmentis, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula.
George Town is the busiest and largest city in Penang. The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are numerous century-old wooden houses standing by the street. Grand Chinese clan buildings and kongsi with magnificent structure and exquisite wooden carvings scatter in the city and tell of prosperity and the history of the immigrants.